Recruiting Notebook: Another Buckeyes vs. Irish Battle Shaping Up, Corner Target Sets Commitment Date, and Darrion Henry's Mysterious Drop

By Andrew Ellis on May 25, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Four-star defender Kourt Williams will head back to Columbus next month.
Kourt Williams

It's a holiday weekend and there have been plenty of happenings on the recruiting trail of late. While our fearless leader is enjoying his vacation down in Tom Herman land, it's probably worth catching up on a few of the bigger developments of the past week. 

McGregor to Michigan & What it Means for Ohio State

Let's get this out of the way: four-star defensive end Braiden McGregor wasn't ever coming to Ohio State. Yes, the Port Huron, Michigan prospect visited Columbus and the Buckeyes were in the hunt for a while, but the recruitment really came down to the Wolverines and Fighting Irish.

McGregor announced his commitment to Michigan on Friday and then decided to toss some shade at Greg Mattison afterward, which was extremely cute.

The various outlets have some vastly different opinions on the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder. 247Sports views him as the country's No. 28 overall player. has him as a three-star and the 27th-best player at his position. Regardless, he was absolutely a top-of-the-board target for both Notre Dame and Michigan.

But what does McGregor to Michigan mean for the Buckeyes? Quite simply it means that we could be looking at yet another Ohio State vs. Notre Dame recruiting battle for a different talented prospect. Olney, Maryland's Mitchell Melton is currently a three-star, but he's a priority target for the Buckeyes, Irish and Wolverines. He's versatile enough to play linebacker or defensive end and the belief is that Notre Dame likes him for their "drop" defensive end spot (much like McGregor).

At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Melton should bring some versatility to whichever team he signs with. He's expected to take officials to all three of the Midwest powers next month, but this one may be another Ohio State/Notre Dame battle. The Buckeyes are also battling the Irish for top cornerback target Clark Phillips III.

Virginia Cornerback Target Sets Commitment Date

The Buckeyes hosted four-star cornerback Joseph Johnson for an unofficial visit last weekend, and now the Colonial Heights, Virginia target has set a commitment date. More often than not the scheduling of an announcement means that a player knows where he wants to go. If that's the case with this one then that could be good news for Jeff Hafley and Co.

The long, 6-foot-3, 180-pound corner decommitted from North Carolina State earlier this month and Penn State is another team to watch closely. I tend to think this is one of those recruitments that's far from over despite a date being set. With guys like Clark Phillips and Henry Gray on the board – and Lejond Cavazos already committed – it will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes push for Johnson. There's no question that corner remains a crucial 2020 need.

Bucks Miss the Cut

Ohio State's search for another offensive tackle is still ongoing, and some thought Colorado's Roger Rosengarten could eventually be the answer. 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong tossed in a crystal ball for the Buckeyes a few months back, and at the time it caught many people off guard. Rosengarten is the country's No. 18 tackle prospect and most of his top contenders are on the West Coast. 

Earlier today the 6-7, 275-pounder unveiled his final two schools.

With Greg Studrawa and the Buckeyes missing out on another tackle prospect, that makes Mars, Pennsylvania's Michael Carmody that much more important. Unfortunately for Ohio State, the four-star received a Notre Dame offer a few weeks back and most believe he's destined to end up with his brother in South Bend.

The Buckeyes certainly still have some work to do on the Paris Johnson front (he's in Baton Rouge this weekend), but adding another tackle to the 2020 class remains a priority as well.

Darrion Henry's Massive Drop in Latest 247 Update

Some of yesterday's big news revolved around top defensive line prospect Darrion Henry. The Cincinnati Princeton defender is unquestionably one of Ohio State's top remaining targets and everyone has him pegged to end up in Columbus. Unfortunately, Henry didn't look all that elite while wearing shorts and a T-shirt at one of the recent camp settings and the only option, obviously, was to drop him 160 spots.

Now a low four-star in the 247Sports rankings and sitting outside the top-200, Henry has also been moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. I don't have an issue with the position switch and fully expect the 280-pounder to end up along the interior part of the line. We discuss this every year when it comes to ratings dips and dives, but apparently the camp setting is extremely important to some outlets.

Lejond Cavazos put on a show at The Opening's Miami regional back in February where he clocked a 4.4 forty and was named the overall combine champion. He remains a three-star on 247Sports, in case you were wondering.

Kourt Williams Gets Open

If Mitchell Melton is the linebacker/defensive end hybrid of the class, then California's Kourt Williams is the safety/linebacker version. The Buckeyes could use the 6-foot-1, 216-pounder in a number of spots including the hybrid bullet position. Williams made officials to Oklahoma and Texas A&M already and is slated to head to Columbus on June 21st. 

Having now earned an invite to The Opening Finals, we'll have to see if Williams' recruitment takes off even more. He doesn't have a decision date set but it's looking like it could come before the season starts. He hails from the powerhouse St. John Bosco program that also produced Wyatt Davis and plenty of other Division I players. Alabama extended an offer a few weeks back, but the Buckeyes are the crystal ball favorite.

Five-Star Friday Reminder 

I just wanted to offer a quick reminder of next Friday's festivities. The country's No. 1 receiver prospect is slated to announce his commitment and Brian Hartline will certainly be watching that one closely. Five-star Julian Fleming is also considering Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, and Penn State. Most believe this one will come down to the Buckeyes, Tigers, and Nittany Lions, however. 

Fleming would be the Buckeyes' third wide receiver commit for 2020 and the top-rated signee at the position in a very long time (maybe ever?). Garrett Wilson was a five-star for the 2019 class where he checked in as the country's No. 2 wideout and No. 20 overall prospect. For comparison's sake, Fleming is the No. 6 overall prospect in America.

Let's hope he doesn't underperform while wearing gym shorts at some 7-on-7 event. That could lead to a pretty big drop in the rankings.

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